Sunday, November 8, 2009


it's november and it's 65* outside! the sun is shining and the breeze is nice and it's a good day. ruthie and i planned a picnic for melissa on the perfect day... we had crackers and cheese and pb & j... we took pictures and funny videos and THEN! there was a snake! ...i HATE snakes!

so i'm past the half way mark on this semester and it feels pretty nice. i'm pretty sure i'll make it through all my classes with the required grades, maybe not much better than the requirement, but it doesn't matter that much now. i have my schedule for next semester and i will no longer have to wake up at 6:15am!! woohoo and i will again have all my classes with my friend lena. at this point i'm about 70% sure i want to do my second half of student teaching at scs in the DR... but i could still use some prayer about this decision.

in the past month i've been able to visit iwu, oklahoma and michigan. i've seen michelle, hannah, dianna, steph, andrea, julia, ashley, rachel, amanda, jess boyce, kady, david, jess jenness, caryn and brittany. and lots more. but it's been great and i've loved getting to catch up with all these friends who i havent gotten to see for over a year. even though traveling around to see everyone is hectic (and the oklahoma roadtrip was a bit crazy), in the end i feel so blessed to continue to have these people in my life. :)

ok. ruthie and i are on to our next adventure: second hand store and second hand bookstore in ft wayne...

Saturday, September 26, 2009


"I'm glad i never lived next to the water
So I could never get used to the beach
And I'm glad I never grew up on a mountain
To figure out how high the world could reach
I love the miles between me and the city
Where I quietly imagine every street

For some the world's a treasure to discover
And your scenery should never stay the same
And they're trading in their dreams for explanations
All in an attempt to entertain"
---good ol' jonny mclaughlin

wow, could those lyrics be any LESS true for how i feel about indiana and where i live. i'm back, except i'm not back in northwest indiana, but out in the cornfields. i'm not just feeling the culture shock of living in the states again, but now i'm figuring out this whole country road and rural people living thing. oh. and i've got roommates again. i mean, theyre great ones, if you've gotta have some...but its weird having to SHARE space, food and time with people again.

so, update: i'm at grace college for transition to teaching (elementary education). i'm taking 16 hrs this semester and my classes are ridiculous, but i've got the whole student thing down again. except so far not up the the standards i had previously in school life...thanks to biology. this coming week i've got a music teaching lesson, three tests, and two papers.

and this weekend...crystal's here!! right now we're all watching dirty dancing. ya know, in honor of patrick swayze. tomorrow we're going shopping in ft wayne. and jenny's meeting up with us. it'll be good to spend time with the girls..its been a while. and there's lots to catch up on :)

earlier tonight i was busy stalking one of my friends on facebook/blog. and saw that he was talking about if he could do anything... and earlier i was talking to michelle about direction... it just makes me think about how frequently i've changed my mind on that. and now, i'm spending oh so much money on a new 'plan' but what if i take another trip somewhere and change my mind again? am i just supposed to stay put until i can go on with the current plan so i dont screw it up? but the reality is...i want to travel, but how do i decide which thing i want more?

and why does everything in that paragraph say "i" ?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

goodbye korea

this is my last post from south korea. it's crazy that it's been a year. and while i'm very ready to go to school and move forward with becoming a teacher... i don't want to leave. i like it here. i like life here, a lot.

ever since i thought of going back to school for elementary education, i've considered coming back here an option. lifechurch sunday services are held at an international school called gsis. and i have friends that work there now. well, lately it's becoming a more forefront option. definitely something i'll be looking into and praying about for the next year. anyone want to come back with me?? :)

this past week has flown by. not only have i been preparing to leave, i've also been helping transition two new teachers to slp. they have been following me and another teacher around all week. it's been fine, but mostly i'm thankful that tomorrow i'll have my classes to myself one more time to say goodbye. it's going to be a very hard day. i'll have goodbyes lasting through the entire day. mostly it's three classes i'm very sad to be leaving. both my preschool classes, and my old preschool class. theyre all amazing kids and i wish i could follow them all around and make sure they get only the best things in life. but i guess that's part of teaching... or so i'm told. something else i'll have to learn, on top of the goodbye thing. i'm pretty good at that already though.

in case it's not been made clear... here's what's next for me:
tomorrow is my last day as a teacher at slp. at 10am on saturday i fly out of seoul and arrive into chicago at 3:30pm on saturday. i will sleep at home and then sunday morning i move to columbia city, indiana. i am living with ruthie and melissa duttweiler. i start classes on monday. yes, like monday august 31. i will take classes for fall '09 and spring '10. i will student teach fall '10. in december '10 i will be an elementary teacher.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"in front of them all"

this past saturday i had the opportunity to go the DMZ--demilitarized zone. i went with liz and two of her friends visiting from indiana (sarah and marlise). i had to wake up at 4:30am and be at the USO office by 7:00am. in case you dont know me well: i dont do mornings. but we made it, despite me not having my passport, liz and sarah not having collared shirts and marlise having opened toed shoes. :)
i sat in a window seat on our way up. we went along the han river all the way north. i started noticing on the way up that there was barbed wire running along the gated shore. and then there were military posts every mile or so. the later explanation we got is that the han is also the imjin river...the border river between north and south... ...
so anyways, we got up to camp bonifas, which is the last military base outside of the DMZ. there we got briefed on the history and current situation. and what was expected of us. it was really interesting to hear about the level of security and day to day intensity of their jobs up there. then we got on military buses and began our journey into the dmz. the first thing we camp upon was a blockade that is set up so that tanks cannot come through. there was A LOT of vegetation! i dont know why i was so surprised by it. i guess i hadnt really thought about it that much. but i think its what scared me most. i mean, when we were on the bus we couldnt see anything except directly in front of us. nothing has been cleared in over 50 years... finally we came out of that and were able to see the south korean village...the freedom village, or taeseong-dong.
then we got to the JSA--joint security area. we got off the buses and filed in two lines through a building to 'the line.' the MDL--military demarcation line. i was at the end of the end of the line. so when i was finally able to see anything, i realized i was staring at north korea. kinda fun, eh? there were 2 ROK--republic of korea (the good guys)--soldiers on the sides of our group. a UN soldier giving us the tour and 3 more ROK soldiers down on the line in front of us. we could only see 1 DPRK--democratic people's republic of korea (bad guys)--soldier. he was a bit freaked out by all 90 of us tourists and i got a good picture of him with his binoculars checking us out. we took some pictures and then walked into T-2. its the middle "temporary" building set up by the UN where all armistice talks are held. there were 2 ROK soldiers in here too. they locked the n korea door so we were safe. this was my chance to stand on the MDL and IN NORTH KOREA!
we left the JSA and went to the third tunnel. yes...third. because they've found 4 in total of n korea trying to spy/invade. the tunnel was intense. we walked straight down for least 15 min. oh and we had to wear yellow hard hats. then we walked through the tunnel for another 15 min...apparently n koreans are shorter than americans bc dude, it was a LOW ceiling. when we got to the end there was a door. and we could look through a window to see another door which was the MDL quite a bit underground. then we turned around and went back the way we came. that was quite hard. quite. couldve used my lost inhaler at that point, lol.
then we watched a movie about all the tunnels and all the assassination attempts and all the post armistice agreement signing events...crazy. the DPRK military is a bit intense and insane.
after lunch we headed to an observation post. it was on a cliff so we could see quite a bit of n korea. we could see gijeong-dong, the north korean propaganda village from there. with their ridiculously large flag (30 meters wide). and tons of statues/monuments of kim il-seong and kim jeong-il. we werent allowed to take pictures except for behind a stupid yellow line. so my pictures didnt exactly turn out. but i saw it. should be good enough, right?
after this we went back to camp bonifas and got back on our bus back to seoul. when we got back, we went into the korean war memorial museum. it was incredibly interesting as well. that day was seriously one of the coolest experiences of my life. ...sorry i wrote in such detail. but it's that cool to me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

it's august.

i'm back in korea and i can't believe that i was even gone for the past week.

my family and friends had the coolest surprise i've ever received waiting for me at the airport. kady! i was so amazed and thankful to have her around for the week. and what a week it was.
-coldstone outing...
-craig's goodbye party
-crazy carnival ride! (ask about that sometime)
-hair cut and new drivers license
-packing, moving and unpacking in columbia city
-roadtrip to st. louis, LUKE'S WEDDING
i seriously can't believe i was home. and i can't believe i only have a month left...

even after just a week, it was so good to be back with my kids. i love them so much and i have so much fun watching them grow up and realizing how much english theyre actually learning. i'm going to miss them TONS! well certain ones more than others. i'm starting to wonder how much i'm going to miss my coworkers, church and friends, and actually korea. i really like living here. but i dont know how much of it is liking korea and how much of it is liking living as a foreigner. when i was home and was sharing with person after person about living here... i started to realize when i was describing it, that a lot of what i was saying was similar to my life in the DR. maybe it's all just related to living in a foreign country... somehow. i find it easier. and more comforting. weird, but not sure how to explain.

Friday, July 24, 2009

goggles and swim caps

ok. so my sporadic updates are not from lack of eventfulness... its just that it all seems normal now. (it's going to be interesting living in indiana after this year)

we went on a "field trip" yesterday to the swimming pool. it was also the day of my last (and most difficult) open class. so i wore shorts and a tank to the pool. i was not planning on getting wet. i figured the swim instructors and the three other teachers could handle it. well... one of my preschoolers was have issues with her goggles, so i went over to her to help her out. the kids were so adorable with their goggles and all of them had swim caps. so then, without (an english) warning, i was soaked. one of the instructors told the 50some students to splash me!! so at this point i just jumped in. when the pool fun was over we followed the girls into the showers, where christina and i proceeded to rinse off our naked lil girls. they stripped their suits and just stood there in lines waiting for us to rinse them off. then they pranced into the changing room and changed. i proceeded to glare at the jerk instructor that got me all wet and then plop onto the cold tile floor waiting for jason to take pictures of all the kids. when we got back to school i changed into my dress for open class. i had a science activity with the lil newbie kids. when i walked in, they were all freaking out bc amy had smelly clay. so when i told her to put it away she started pouting. then hugh started pouting bc his helicopter pieces were white and not colored. so i switched him. but then amy wanted by pink balloon. so i gave it to her, but then she popped it. so i had to give her her old one back. and then hugh and jessica popped their balloons and jessica started crying. so i made her stop crying but then she climbed onto my lap and the strap on my dress started ripping. SOOO, i went home and changed for the third time that day. i ended up having to make a-young (one of my best/favorite students) write 'lines' today bc she was so disrespectful. and then my open class didnt go well bc the students wouldn't talk. they wouldnt even repeat new vocab words i was teaching them. my boss left me a note saying that the parents think the material i'm doing is too boring and that the kids dont speak enough. IT'S THE SCHOOL'S CURRICULUM!! bah
anyways, today stephanie offered to take all of the staff to a movie and dinner. no one went. so bryan and i went. it was incredibly awkward. i felt like i was in a class being taught on how to act like a 21yr old korean girl. i was disregarded and pushed aside so much by stephanie. she would barely answer anything i said to her. i was expected to sit there and listen. it was ridiculous. she was all talking it up with bryan. at one point bryan looked at me and was like "so beth, what do you think?" it's unbelievable that i can be one of her best teachers and that means squat to her. she treats the male teachers so much better. and she treats christina better bc she's older. but i get nothing. it's soooo completely different from the american merit based system. and i've had class after class tell be about the difference in certain cultures, but it's still so insulting when you have to live it.

ok. well that's just a small glimpse as to what my days consist of. haha.

i'll be in chicago/nwindiana from july 25-july 30. and st louis for july 31-aug 1.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

when the rain starts to pour

i'll be home in 2 weeks and 2 days. for 1 week. for lunch today morg, christina and i went to galguksu. its amazing soup--noodles and veggies (galbi pego -- without beef). we ended up eating with jordana. a friend of ours from cali. she just got back from 2 weeks at home. she still has four months here, but she said it was so strange being home so close to the end of her contract. when she woke up this morning she said it felt like it'd all been a dream. and it was really hard to be there, but it was even harder to leave it after just 2 weeks. we'll see how i do after just a week, with less than a month left.

i dont really have a reason for not writing on here in a while. i havent been that busy or anything. just laziness i guess. i feel like im starting to slide into my normal leaving process with people here. i've been getting annoyed or even arguing with people here more.

we just had another song contest on monday. my alligator preschoolers ended up being one of the two classes that won. bobby chose surfin usa for them to sing. they were so good. everyone sang and they even did motions and a bit of dancing. i had chosen aint no mountain high for my bear kids....which they all knew, but they just dont like singing as much. but their motions were great! haha i'm going to miss those kids so much.

today one of my kids told us that his dad was yelling at his mom last night so she started to yell back at him. then she got really mad when he said something so she starting hitting him a lot. then another student piped in with his own story. he was working on his homework the night before. he was reading his storybook when his mom came over and yelled at him because he wasnt working hard. he told her he was trying very hard. so she grabbed his book and threw it at the trash can. some of the stories our kids tell us are heartbreaking. like...earlier this week one of my elementary school students told me that he had fallen at soccer practice and scraped up his arm. then when his mom saw him asleep doing his homework she started smacking his wound until it broke open. can you imagine?? ugh. i wish i could scream at their parents! and then take all my kids... i dont know what i'd do then. but still.

it's definitely monsoon season. its been raining more often...every weekend at least. and today it was storming ALL day. it's not so much fun at this point to not have a car. maybe this is preparing me for when i'll own my own car. mama, i'm so glad i have those rainboots. best gift ever :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

when letters arent enough

it's a sunday afternoon. i didnt make it to church this morning. i probably shouldve. its been a rough week and i really enjoy my time at lifechurch and the people there. but i just didnt have the drive to get up and go today.
yesterday xstina and liz were great. because our beach plans got cancelled on account of the beginning of monsoon season, they declared the day as "beth must have fun day." we ended up going into the city to gangnam to COEX. its the biggest underground mall in asia. and well, i'm pretty sure everyone in asia was there yesterday. i love the crowds, but i think it was getting to the girls. but they were good sports and pushed through. our first stop was the bookstore. we enjoyed sitting in there for an hour, finding books and eventually all walking out with one book. so to add to my list...i'm now reading brief encounters with che guevara. next we headed to find a movie to watch. we got tickets to see the taking of pelham 123. then we went to uno's for some amazing deep dish pizza. well, pretty good...not the same as giordanos though. we got some starbucks before the movie. it was pretty intense, but really interesting. it was fun seeing john travolta like that...haha.
our new coworker gets in today. his name is bryan schuetz. i guess they call him schuetz (shoots) instead of bryan. he gets five days of following teddy around before teddy takes off. its gonna be weird without him at school. definitely quieter. :)
68 more days

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


i just bought a new cd on itunes. thanks lukie. its a cd by stephen kellogg and the sixers--bulletproof heart. music suggest by my cousin...and 4 starred by me. just in case you wanted to check it out.

yesterday we had a field trip to Herb Land. we were on the bus for about 45 min to get there. it was sort of ridiculous, but we had fun on the bus. when we got there, all the kids sat in a lil green house at tables and we made soap. here's a video of the kids mixing the oils, water and scrapings.
the kids seemed to have fun making it. they were a lil concerned about getting the hands messy at first, but it was fun. even the teachers got all messy. then we helped them put their names and decorate them with leaves and flowers. i kind of wish i had one myself. we served them lunch there and then ran around the green house a bit.the ride home was a bit more difficult. i put four of my 6 boys in the back of the bus and then sat in front of them with the other two and sarang. the ride home took an hour and by the end of it i was more angry with troy than i had ever been in the past 9 months. he would not listen!!

i have an open class tomorrow. i wrote up my lesson plan for it today. i seem ready...but im putting a lot on the kids. its my best class...jenny, jo, john, coral, ayoung. so i have a lot of faith in them...but its still a lot riding on a bunch of 7yr kids. kay (head teacher) was telling me that i shouldnt care if their whole class pulls out to go to another school. i tried to explain to her that i love these kids and theyre my favorites...and i'd just be really sad. she didnt get it. i dunno. its hard to explain how i feel about some of these kids. well... some of them. like yesterday...on the bus ride home from the field trip. sarang fell asleep on me. i kept having to move her bc i had to deal with other kids. but she slept through it all. she's so small. she's so precious. she's a handful. but through it all, i've gained her trust. she's like a mini-me. so i know its a big deal to have her trust. and i was realizing all this as i looked down at her. she'll probably not remember me in 5 yrs, but i'll always remember her. and i prayed for her right then. that someone would always love her like i do. always care for her as a person...even beyond what her parents can give her. and that someone would be there when she starts asking the big questions...someone with the right answers. and that He would just keep her safe and miraculously help form her into a better person, even though her environment isnt that great. ugh. hopefully when i become a teacher i wont get this attached to my kids.

Monday, June 1, 2009

a waegook's monday

its monday. i was at work until 8pm today. suck. but as i walked out of the building i was met by a cool breeze. for the past week or two its reached at least 85* everyday. and the heat holds on forever here. its like the air doesn't know how to shift or something. the air here. what an experience. i'd equate it to visiting the hospedaje in the DR... just something you've gotta experience to understand. but tonight was different. tonight it wasn't so much the smell in the air, as the water. it was like breathing rain. but different. i mean, when it rains the moisture has formulated into droplets so as to not take up every minuscule part of the sky, but tonight...i was breathing in water. thick. yeah, thick.
i stopped to get a potato sandwich and ice latte from joes. on my way home i literally passed a guy on a motorbike. its crazy how many people walk everywhere here, but its amazing what some of them will do to get away from the walking. oh, and i also saw a guy on a regular bike drinking his cass (beer). a monday. at 8pm. gotta appreciate korea.
my apartment is warmer. my lil thermometer still reads 80* despite leaving all windows open and having all electricity turned off all day. i actually cleaned up a bit last night. i've packed up my winter apparel so i'll have less to do in july. but its amazing the floor space i've gained by doing some cleaning and sorting's like i'm living in a new apartment! <--that was just for you mama ;)
i've officially been accepted to grace college as an undergrad transfer student. that's weird. being a student again. especially after being a teacher and so flippantly giving homework to the kids. maannnnn! haha
well this is my off week for open classes. but we've got may session reports to do on every kid and as always--lesson plans. they are starting to become the bane of my existence. not good. especially bc i'll be doing them for the rest of my life. and probably a lot more extensive than i do them now.
maybe i'll get to wear my snazzy new rain boots tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

in the arms of your mercy

in case none of you figured it out...the name of my blog comes from a song by casting crowns. i heard it at the kizer's cottage the weekend after i decided to go ahead with the whole korea teaching adventure. the title of this post is from the same song...

i need rest. and no matter how many times i've realized this in the past, i keep thinking i'm strong enough to just push through. and while yes, with God's help, i am able to... i still need rest. and just like casting crowns so eloquently put it, i find it in the arms of God's mercy. i finally collapsed into a huge sitdown with my Bible. i could say that i soaked up every word, but it was more like it was absorbing me... kinda hard to explain. maybe something like the picture of God wrapping his arms around and enveloping us. sort of. [things are so hard right now. please pray.]

it's summer! today was such a beautiful day :) the sun was out for my walk to work. i even got to go out during a break and work on kids' report cards while sipping on my third iced latte of the day...haha. this week is my 9 month marker. which means i'm 3/4 done and after 3 months of summer here i'll be back in the states. i've filled out an application for grace college as a transfer student to the elementary education program. i'm READY for the supportive/protective Christian bubble again.

please listen/watch casting crowns' song prayer for a friend. even if it's just once... pray it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


--didn't your mama ever tell you not to talk to strangers--

christina (my coworker that replaced jon) and i went on holiday together to beijing. we flew with morgan, teddy and bobby...but didnt stay in their five star hotel. our hostel was amazing...if you ever go to beijing you have to stay in the jade youth hostel! its soo close to everything and clean and helpful! anyways...we went for 4 days. we had 2 days off of work for children's day...amazing, i know.

on saturday we got to our hostel around 11 and were off exploring by 12. we accidentally found a catholic church and accidentally started talking to a man that said he was a teacher there. since the doors were locked he offered to show us in... sketchy, i know. we ended up downstairs in the back classroom building looking at paintings they were trying to sell for the church. haha... it was fine. i ended up buying 2 for less than $20. then we wandered around and got food, didnt know what to order but it ended up being good. we eventually found tiananmen square...which was HUGE! none of the buildings were open in it, so we wandered around and took pictures before leaving and going shopping. on our walk home at the end of the night we walked past the night market and fully experienced the smells, but didnt check out the foods. exhausted, we agreed on a great wall tour and hit the showers/beds.

we woke up at 6am to be on the bus at 7am for our great wall tour. our guide's name was johnny. johnny is a girl :) she was actually a decent guide...not annoyingly peppy, but still interesting and informative. we ended up taking a couple detours before the wall... (that's what happens when you're on a communist government run tour) we went to the ming tombs. it was pretty interesting and a nice walk. then we were off to a eastern medicine/nursing we saw some doctors that told us whether our organs were well balanced with yin and yang and then tried to sell us meds. after that we headed for a jade factory... saw it being cleaned and shaped, and being sold ridiculously overpriced. we ate lunch there, which was pretty good, and then finally headed for the great wall. from there it was about an hour. when we got there we decided to take a chair up the wall and then begin our allotted 2 hrs on the rules... it was really fun and a good view. the wall was pretty hard to climb. the stairs were either barely stairs or 90* angels. but i'm glad i went all the way...and past. christina and i met a flight attendant and were spending our day with him...alex. anyways, the three of us walked past the no admittance sign and got to see a bit of the real wall...not redone. the view was amazing. i wish we'd gotten more time to sit up there... maybe even a bit more silence, haha. but it is true that it's almost easier to feel God's presence when you're that high up. and seeing the mountains go on forever... He really does like showing off ;) anyways, we hiked back down and then rode a toboggan much fun!! and then bussed back for almost 3 hrs. that night we met up with morg, bobby and teddy for dinner. we went to a pretty famous restaurant and had some famous peking duck. it was pretty good :)

the next day, xtina and i woke up and headed for the forbidden city at 9. ...and then a guy asked us what "expire" means... one of the most frustrating situations of my life took place... and at 10:15 we started off from the man's painting shop annoyed and not at all guilted into buying anything. but the palace was incredible. it was so huge. every building was big and there were HUNDREDS of buildings. i would be surprised if we saw half of them. when we left there we got a taxi to the summer palace...a bit out of the city. so we payed 46 yuan. i really enjoyed our time at the summer palace. we took out a paddle boat on the lake in front of it, and it was such a good day. then we walked pretty high up and got to see a good view of the city. it was so relaxing, and much less exhausting than the wall ;) the cab driver charged us 146yuan on the ride back. so we stopped him right away...but then he claimed our money was fake... so i said a prayer and we walked away hoping he'd just stay in the car and leave us alone. but now we were lost and penniless, not to mention completely pissed. we made it home and vowed that no one in china was getting anymore of our money... and then we out to eat and shopping, haha. we caught the end of the night market and then found another market where christina ate some scorpions (check facebook for the video...actually lots of videos).

the next morning i ended up sick. xtina went out exploring without me and when we checked out we took it easy on the wangfujing walking street and a side market. around 3:30 we went back, got our luggage, and grabbed a taxi to the airport. and i didnt get stopped from entering either country despite the quarantine check points and temperature sensors... :)

anyways, beijing was such a great experience. we got to see a lot in 4 days. we got to meet some really awesome people...and some crazy ones...and some frustrating ones. and we learned a lot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


this past sunday was my first week helping out with children's church at life church. i was a helper in the kindergarten class. there were about 10 children in the class and probably the most energetic kids. it was so much fun! i got to PLAY with kids instead of be a teacher. and it was kinda nice because almost all of these kids are native english speakers. one of the little korean boys, leo, played soccer with me for about a half hour. he was pretty amazing for a 5 yr old. actually he was pretty amazing. besides the fact that at 5 yrs old i doubt i was able to focus on one thing for that long unless i was being forced to. and im pretty sure that forcing me to do anything was very hard work. :D the pastor's son in was in my class as well. his name is hudson. and he is the self-declared leader because he's the biggest. it's fairly good logic at that age. haha...he actually was pretty good at getting the little ones to help out and whatnot :) i hope i get to help with that class again soon. we have a meeting this coming sunday about changing the schedule and whatnot. i feel like i'm actually part of a ministry team again... which to me is the defining moment of being part of a church family.

in 5 days i'll be celebrating my 8 months here. which means only 4 more months. wow. it's going to go by so fast, especially with how busy i'm getting. i'm already really sad. ..well most days. haha. i'm going to miss my kids SO MUCH! today i was giving a test to my favorite class (jenny, john, jo, a-young, and coral). before i could sit down and pass out the test they were all over me...hugs and playing with my hair. and i just started laughing. i called them out on being lil rascals and wanting to butter me up so i wouldnt give them the test. theyre 8 so they dont understand that they'll get it at some point anyways... but it still made me laugh. and they sheepishly giggled when i called them out on it. gosh. i wish i could bring them back with me...

i'm going to beijing! children's day is may 5th. yes. children get a holiday for...themselves. whatever, a day off is a day off. but our boss decided to give us the 4th off as well. so with a 4 day weekend most of the SLP foreign staff decided to vaca in beijing. christina and i have decided on a hostel while the others are staying in a high class hotel... bah! haha. but i'm so excited!! if you have ideas of what we should visit, please share. so far our list is: the great wall, the forbidden city, tiananmen square, bell/drum towers, night market.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

thinking about my thinking

i can't believe it's mid-april already. life has continued to pick up pace here is suji-gu, yongin city, south korea. i hardly come home anymore, which makes it that much harder to decide to sit down and write on here. but alas...

well jon has gone and christina is here. the change has been a fairly easy one, for me anyways. christina is from greenwood, indiana--she's an iu graduate. i love spending time with her, and when i'm not running around with life church stuff, i'm usually with her. the night she got here, before i'd even met her, i prayed and asked God if it was at all possible that the 'new girl' be a christian. and man, is He awesome. i don't know why He keeps giving me positive answers to my prayers, but i'm liking it. anyways, it's been awesome to have someone to talk things through with and who is a part of my day to day at SLP and with the coworkers.

speaking of. those 'opportunities' i keep mentioning and praying about...yeah, they keep coming. it's a steady stream, so too many to go into detail about on here (feel free to ask though). but i did want to let you all know that teddy came to church. he came 2 weeks ago (christina's first sunday as well). it'd been a late night for him... ... but he made it. and he said it was good to come and be away from life for a bit.
bobby and i had a really interesting conversation about God. he's grown up catholic and still holds to many of their beliefs, but isn't attending mass and says that he has some things to figure out on his own first. we ended up talking about a lot of his questions about christianity... it was some deep and difficult stuff. the conversation never really ended, and he has every intention of picking it back up again. which is a God-thing because i've been able to talk to several people and get my thoughts more together. but you can definitely be praying for him as well.

so i've decided to stay in my apartment. about a week ago they "tore down" the old wallpaper and "cleaned" the mold and put new stuff up. i'm just accepting what i have and am going to make the most of it. :)

i've been thinking a lot. but i feel like its rushed thinking. i'm not sure how to explain it. but i've been trying to transfer it all into prayers. so instead of reliving my conversations with morg or bobby, i try to pray for them--and pray for my frienships with them. or when i think about family and friends at home...instead of worrying (not being able to be there), i try to pray about it. but yeah. trying is probably the key word in all that...

well, i've gotten terribly behind on my grading. i have no motivation to do it when i finally get home. so i'm going to try going to bed early and waking up early... haha, i know: good luck!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


it's amazing what a person can get done when they wake up at 5:45am and can't fall back asleep...

i've got half of my puzzle done at this point. i've only got a lil over a week to finish it because i'll be moving. i guess i haven't explained that, so... my apartment has mold in it. a lot. and the landlord decided to just put some wallpaper on top of the mold and say that it's fixed. i don't agree. so i'm moving into jon's apartment when he leaves on april 6th. our new coworker flew in last night. her name is christina, or christie. today will be her first day of training/observation. and we're going on a field trip today! :) we're going to the kyeonggi museum. i live in's the name of all the seoul suburbs.

so there is a new pastor dude that is preaching on wednesdays at mosaic. he's british and a fun speaker. his past two sermons/lessons/messages/whatever have been about influence. how basically everything we say, even do, is an influence on the people and environment around us. it's quite a bit of pressure as a christian. i mean we're walking around saying that we're following Jesus, God, and when we do good it shows Him. and when we do bad ... it shows Him too ... ?? :-\ well that's what a lot of people think anyways. last night he talked more specifically about opportunities for influence. for good and for God. opportunities. we just have to choose to shine in those moments. even if saying nothing is the brightest light.

sorry, i had to go turn my alarm off :( right now my fingers are crossed. my straightener isn't heating up. i've already had to mourn the loss of my curling iron... looks like i'll be styling a ponytail today.

i finally finished velvet elvis. it really is as good as all the hype. on one of the last pages he makes a good point. "why blame the dark for being dark? it is far more helpful to ask why the light isn't as bright as it could be."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

yellow dust

so the past 2 days have been yellow dust days. in korea they call it 황사 (hwangsa). we've had them before, but i've always gotten the friendly broadcasted text msgs in the morning to give me a heads up. anyways, yellow dust is amazing weather... but the problem is that being outside is considered hazardous because of the pollution. any korean will explain this as desert pollution from china and then immediately shake their head in disapproval. it is highly recommended that if you have to be outside you wear a mask, preferrably cloth--maybe even a bit damp--to prevent inhalation. maybe tomorrow i'll get a picture of one of the kids with one on. or teddy, cuz he wants to buy one. anyways, some day i might have cancer as a result of these 황사....just thought i'd share. i'll have to get a picture of how bright and yellow the sky ends up looking all day.

a friend from my old church, seung min, took me out for dinner on saturday as a birthday gift. she also bought me this sweet sunflower field puzzle. it makes me miss my daddy a whole bunch.

so pastor jack has started a new sermon series on truths that are in danger of becoming extinct. the past 2 sermons have been really good, and particularly relevant for me right now. the first one was about faith--needing to believe in big things God wants to do for you and through you. the next sermon was about religious pluralism--the false belief that all religions believe the same thing and as long as you follow one you'll end up ok. i wish all my coworkers couldve been there for this past sermon... but i was able to share a bit with teddy, jon and morg on monday morning about it. (they don't think its appropriate for amanda and i to make small commentary during sermons..."tsk tsk") this coming week PJ will talk about hell. we'll see if this ends up being the week teddy shows... :-D

i got a huge folder-cut right on the crease by my thumb. it hurts so bad and it isn't healing because if i extend my thumb it opens up the wound again. and yes. it is a wound. mama, what do i do?

also, i'm going to be moving within the next three weeks. so if you have creative ideas of how i should decorate my new apt...please share! :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


right now i'm sitting in my apartment eating some spicy ramyeon (ramen) with my new chopsticks. i havent had ramyeon since christmas bc i left my chopsticks in chicago and you cant eat it without them. so i finally remembered to pick some up. but anyways, it's about 10:45pm right now and i just started a bit of laundry... i could be doing it for 2 days straight, but i wont. i just got back from my first bible study. it's small, just a married couple--jennyfer and nick, katherine and me. katherine's got the cutest little girl, katelyn. its nice to be around a lil blonde baby for a change. this week's reading is on gideon, so i'll be reading up on judges 7,8,9 for next week... hopefully ;-)

last night was church. i didnt realize how tired i was until i got on the bus to go and nearly fell asleep (only 10 min ride). and during worship i was feeling so drained and not into it at all. but then pastor jack went up front and the first thing he said was "i was sitting in the back, looking out over everyone here tonight and i just felt like God was telling me to go up and say that He is a God of second chances, a God of opportunities. i don't know who needed to hear it, but that's the peace i need to share with you." it was one of those moments. you know, those moments. and my eyes got all watery. God spoke to me. it was what i needed to hear. you see that afternoon after lunch hugh, jon, teddy, morgan and i went to a park to chill for a while. it was beautiful out and we weren't eager to sit in the office with nothing to do. we talked about anything and the selection of restaurants in suji, the boiling point of water, morgan's haircut experience, the exercise machines in the park, how little korean kids think its ok to stick their fingers in our butts, etc... well while morg and hugh were off exploring the exercise things, teddy asked me about church again. he said something about someone being really religious and that he doesn't get it. he doesnt have anything against it, but he doesn't get it. and jon piped in with a comment about how its just too much, like going so far from science and facts. and in response to most of their comments i just asked them questions. why? why does religion make them uncomfortable? why is it too hard to believe in the whole parting of the sea (jon's hang up)? and they'd talk for a while. but i just sat there. they wanted to talk about it. i just sat there. i didnt defend anything. i did explain anything. i just sat there. FAIL

i can think of SO MANY people who should be here. should be working in SLP hagwon. should be friends with these people. should be having these conversations. should be representing Christ. they would be so much better. they would know what to say. they would be smarter. they would be quicker. they wouldn't fail. but you know what. God is going to give me more chances.

and for the first time i'm praying for more chances from the God of opportunities

Saturday, February 28, 2009

MY six month marker

today. february 28th. is my six month marker.

i have learned so much.

most of you know what it's like to go on missions trips and come back and be so completely overwhelmed by everything you've just experienced and learned. you can't put it into words. there isn't anyone who can understand. and its completely wonderful. and its completely lonely.

i've been to a couple different places. not as many as some, but a couple more than most. and i'd like to think i've experienced a bit of "life" here and there. but God brought me to korea to be nothing. to have no one. to listen. to learn.

i got an email today. it wasn't my favorite one, to say the least. but something i've learned since being here is i shouldn't just sit around and ponder things. i need to ask God the questions. so i did. "why?" i mean, He's big enough to answer. "why failure?" "why disappointment?" "why when we try so hard...for you" and, He answered. cuz He's cool like that. He used rob bell and josh kelley, haha. i'll share part of His answer...

the worst mistake is giving up
pulling back when you've had too much
of not knowing where you belong

the one thing i am certain of
is time will change each one of us
for this you're not on your own
so open your voice and be strong

you are not alone
you are what you believe
you are not alone
you're a part of everything

when life gets you down
set your soul at ease
you are not alone
you're a part of everything

-----, He chose us. He believes in us.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


hugh, one of my canadian coworkers, is about to lose one of his preschool classes at the beginning of march. it's really affecting him and that is hard for me to sit back and watch. (in general people working at hagwons look at their job as a job.) when i got a chance to talk to hugh in private about everything that's going on, he said something that shocked me. he used the word love about his students. he looked right at me and said it. it was real. then he looked back in at his class and just watched them. i realized right then that whatever financial or educational reasons our boss has for this change, NOTHING could be as big or important as how he feels about each one of them. jokingly we refer to hugh as the old man... being 25 and all, haha. but in reality, there are moments just like that that make me realize he really is worth respecting.

on wednesday evenings life church hosts a service at a cafe they started. i've gone for the past 3 weeks and, not surprisingly, enjoy the mid-week refreshment, encouragement, and fellowship. after the testimony given this week (which you should ask me about sometime) i quickly fell into conversation with a lady i'd met the week before. her name is joyce (easy enough to remember!). she's korean, but at the age of 12 moved to chicago. about 6 months ago she moved to korea for the first time with her husband. she was 7 months pregnant. now she has the most adorable baby boy, christian. however now she is facing struggles she didn't see coming --relating to family life in korea. not only has she had to adjust to korean culture but she is also dealing with family expectations. her questions are real... where does christian family culture, american family culture and korean family culture differ? how do she and her husband stay true to christian family values when they conflict with korean culture? and then the underlying does she use this as a testimony to her nonchristian family and korean friends? her questions and frustrations and goals are so different from mine. there is little for me to connect with. yet, they are so powerful. and i was truly moved by this young korean-american mother standing in front of me.

i love that the people i meet and interact with in my day to day are so different from me and each other. God is bringing people into my path that are wise and inspirational. even if i haven't got the slightest idea of how to be a part of their lives. least i'm watching and learning for now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


thank you to all those demanding folks out there... here is your new post. (actually it's just my siblings.) and really, there isn't much to tell.

it's a new week and it started out well. on sunday mornings i meet up with amanda and her part-time roommate marge to go to life church. our bus ride from suji to suwon is about 40 mins-if traffic is decent. church continues to be a highlight of my week. its been great to get back into english worship (even though i still feel that spanish worship is what heaven's like) and listening to a sermon in english is just top-notch, haha. in case you didn't pick up on it...teddy didn't come to church this week. he and most of my coworkers went on a ski outing sat-sun. he told me to ask him again next week and to keep asking... so please continue to pray with me.

one of the hard things about living in an international community is the turnover. and korea is no different. this week life church had a "despedida" for one of its couples. and while i don't know them, the general sadness got to me and reminded me of my past SCS community. it's been a while since i've been in this kind of community, and i can feel myself quickly needing to adjust back to numbness when it comes to goodbyes. on a brighter note... every week life church brings in new people. it's such a blessing to have new friendships being formed each week.

there is a new sense of busyness at school. the year is ending, graduation is coming, a new semester is beginning and new teachers will be arriving. to add to the lovely work atmosphere, our boss decided to ban us from using computers at work. we'll see how long that lasts. there are only 3 of us left that remember the last ban, so it might last a little longer... while i wouldn't say that i was smiling finding out this news, i did see the positive difference that came as a result. during 5, 10, 40 minute breaks coworkers were more apt to talk to one another than all split off and check facebook or the latest sports' scores. oh, and other work news: jon has decided to declare himself head foreign teacher. haha. he's bribing/blackmailing me to go along with it... i get his current desk if i play nice. if not, he'll give it to morgan. grrr! haha, only one more month and then he's out the door! ... ... actually. i will miss him.

book currently in hand: murder on the orient express (agatha christie)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

my miracle

my coworkers are interesting people. i thoroughly enjoy their company in the work place, but there are few of their social contexts in which i feel comfortable. there are these three gents: hugh, jon and ted. they are friends from canada. they like to party. a lot. and this past week that meant 7 nights in a row for teddy. ...i'm not trying to make them sound like horrible people, but this background is important. anyways, the boys are a couple years past college and so, to me, its a lil strange that they still "party" or "get sh**faced" (as they like to say) as much as they do.

for the past 2 weeks i've been attending an english church in the bigger suburb city nearby, suwon. life church has been an amazing blessing already and i feel like i'm experiencing a whole new korea now. i've actually met foreign christians here!! this past sunday the speaker talked about miracles. how so few christians are believing in miracles today. we are eager to work for God, but our faith is not standing out. he challenged us to ask for a miracle. to ask for something we REALLY wanted but knew we couldn't get by any work done ourselves. so right then and there i prayed. i asked God for the biggest thing i wanted: teddy to become a christian. and i kept praying: give him a desire to seek you. give him the interest to come to church. give him the need for a different lifestyle. give him friends that will be good for him. and then church was over and i didnt give it another thought.

monday rolled around. it usually does after a sunday... at our awesome kimbap shop "sharon's" i was enjoying my wonderful dolsot bibimbap dish, when... teddy asked me if i'd heard of these 2 churches nearby. i said i hadn't...why? his response: because i was thinking about trying one of them out, and i know that youre religious. i smiled and told him that he was always welcome to come to church with me and amanda (a mutual friend). and he said that he would really like to!! he said he wants to go and it'd be a good time for reflection!! i love and hate those moments. because theyre so great but then i'm left speechless :-\ all i managed at that point was: yeah, it'a a good time. you should definitely come! as the meal went on, the conversation shifted. but as we were walking out and paying he asked me what time church started and where i met up with amanda. as i took a detour to get some coffee, i couldn't stop smiling. i felt like one of my best friends had just given me the coolest gift totally out of the blue.

my God is so big,
so strong and so mighty,
there's nothing my God cannot do
(...i'm a lil kid teacher...)

please pray for teddy.